In a recent interview, country music legend Dolly Parton wondered aloud if some music artists’ declarations of broader sexual identities might be “to make people think they’re so free and all that.”
Chatting with showbiz columnist Dan Wootton for his podcast, The Dan Wootton Interview, Parton referred to herself as “an old timer” when asked about recent announcements by artists declaring themselves as gender fluid, bisexual or pansexual.
“I don’t want to criticize or judge anybody, but sometimes I think it’s just become kind of fashionable to speak out like that,” said the 73-year-old icon. “I think some of them even say more than who they really are.”
“I think they just want to be part of that whole movement to make people think that they’re so free and all that, but I don’t really know how they feel inside,” she added.
Pointing to her gender fluid/pansexual godchild, Miley Cyrus, she noted, “She does a lot of stuff for effect, and I think a lot of them do.”
Currently in London for the opening of her musical, 9 To 5, the longtime LGBTQ ally does give a squeak when referred to as a gay icon (“I love that!”) and shares that if she’d been born male she would have “been a drag queen because I love all the flamboyant stuff.”
She also bats away longtime rumors about her own sexuality thanks to her lifelong friendship with bestie, Judy Ogle.
“So people say that – because you can’t really have a great relationship with a woman,” said the “Jolene” legend. “I’m not gay, but I have so many gay friends and I accept everybody for who they are.”
The Country Music Hall of Famer, with 25 number one songs on the Billboard country charts, doesn’t worry about such chatter.
“People love to talk, but sometimes that’s your best publicity,” said Parton, who will celebrate her 53rd wedding anniversary with husband Carl Dean in May. “I don’t care wha they say as long as they don’t hurt other people I love.”
Some in the media worried that Parton’s comments might have had a negative slant, but Parton’s status as an LGBTQ ally is long-cemented by actions and statements across the years in defense of the gay community.
From telling Billboard Magazine that those who judge gays are committing their own personal sin to apologizing to a theme park guest who was told to turn their marriage equality t-shirt inside out in order to get into the park, to writing the Oscar-nominated song “Travelin’ Thru” for transgender-themed film, Transamerica, Parton has been there (and more) for the LGBTQ community.
You can listen to Wootton’s chat with Dolly Parton below. The discussion of sexuality begins around the 12:45 mark.